We are disappointed that the endorsement process in Chatham County for the Orange/Chatham Sierra Club appears to lack transparency and seems to be biased and a bit unfair in Chatham County.
Last fall during the Pittsboro elections, Mayor Jim Nass, Commissioner Mike Fiocco and Mayor Pro-Tem Pam Baldwin were never contacted by the Orange/Chatham Sierra Club, while the other two candidates were contacted and endorsed.
Those endorsements fueled their victories last fall and the spring Sierra Club endorsement of my opponent was cited in an ad run by her campaign in your newspaper.
What is concerning to me is that the only African American candidate, Mayor Pro-Tem Pam Baldwin, was not contacted. Furthermore, Pam Baldwin, who is the only African American woman ever elected to the Town Board of Pittsboro, has never been endorsed by the Sierra Club of Orange/Chatham in 16 years even though her family’s land and well water was historically impacted by the old Chatham County dump.
This spring, I am running to be only the third African American man ever elected to the Chatham County Commissioners, and I do not feel that my campaign was treated fairly either.
Given the unique historic struggles of African Americans in Chatham County and the disproportionate effects that unfettered growth and environmental racism have on our community, it seems unfair and unreasonable for the Sierra Club of Orange/Chatham to overlook Pam Baldwin last fall in favor of white candidates and overlook the only African American candidates this spring — my campaign and the Travis Patterson campaign — in favor of a white candidate without conducting a fully transparent process that factors in social equity and the disproportionate effect environmental degradation has historically had on communities of color.
I am disappointed in the local Sierra Club, and I would like for them to address the lack of transparency and engagement in their local endorsement process.
Rev. Albert Reddick
EDITOR'S NOTE: The News + Record received this response from the Orange/Chatham Sierra Club. Group:
Perhaps Reverend Reddick is disappointed that he didn’t get the Sierra Club endorsement but he knows all about our process, because he participated in it. We ask all registered candidates if they would like to be considered for our endorsement based on their answers to our questionnaire, evaluation of their campaign materials, experience, and performance in candidate events, but can only consider them if they say, “yes” to the invitation. In the Pittsboro race, Baldwin didn’t. In the past, we have—successfully--endorsed African American candidates, including Carl Thompson and Karen Howard. Of those that responded this cycle, we chose David Delaney and Katie Kenlan as the most environmentally responsible choices for Chatham County. We hope that advice helps voters pick their candidates wisely.
Political Committee, Orange/Chatham Sierra Club Group
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